As I sit here writing this on Friday evening I am thinking about so many different things that have happened and people that I have seen, having said that coming from Belfast the two murders that have taken place in Northern Ireland during this past week are uppermost in the mind’s eye. One of those who died murdered at the hands of those who are trying to impose their will on the local community lived not far from me here in North Belfast and will be buried after a funeral Mass on Monday Morning at our local church. Much has been said over the last few days about what this man had done but the overwhelming message from everyone including our politicians is that NO ONE HAS THE RIGHT TO TAKE THE LIFE OF ANOTHER and this statement has to be reinforced time and time again is so many situations in life. In our world today life is so very cheap, with so many taking up arms against their brothers and sisters in so many situations in the world. When we stop we think of Syria, Egypt and Iraq to name but a few there are so many war zones in the world, we pray for peace wherever we are, peace in our hearts our minds and our souls.

Our Gospel story for this weekend is the story of the ten Lepers, It is really a story of being grateful for all the various things that are done for us in faith and otherwise Jesus cured ten, but only one returns to day thank you, perhaps this percentage of thankfulness continues among God’s children today. All of us have reasons to give thanks for so many things yet very few turn to the Lord with words and hearts expressing  our gratitude for all the wonders he has done for us in our personal lives and in the life of the Church. The working of the grace of God is seen here in this reading in the gratitude of the Samaritan the man who came back to say thank you.  A Samaritan who was thought to be socially repulsive, and an outcast even before he contracted leprosy, shows the dignity of faith in returning to give thanks to Christ. “Rise, and go ob your way, your faith has saved you.

How often do our prayers turn to the theme of thanksgiving to God?  The gospel today encourages us to voice our prayer as simply and directly as the lepers did in the story do: “Jesus, Master, have pity on us.” No need for pretense, excuses or false pride to block or alter the request. Bluntly put: “Have pity on us.” We yes YOU AND I are like the lepers, who did not pray as individuals alone, but as a group in need.  When we voice our simple prayer out of need, what do we expect – instant help and healing? Sometimes that’s what happens. But we take a clue from the lepers in the Gospel story Luke tells us, “As they were going they were cleansed, “As they were going, they were cleansed.” In my own life I often say that my prayers are answered not when I wanted them answered but when God saw I needed the requests  answered. We need to ask ourselves today, “Am I really grateful for God’s constant love and for His forgiveness? Or do I just take Him for granted?” Thankfulness is a necessary component and expression of our love for God who has loved us in Christ to His death on the Cross. What can we do but give thanks every day to God who has put to death our death by the death of His own Son and, by the outpouring of the Holy Spirit, given us a share in His own life which never ends? If we open our hearts and minds to this perspective of faith, how could we fail to begin and end every prayer and offering in heartfelt and loving thanks to our heavenly Father? 

Let us continue our lives with a lively faith which includes thanking God for all that he has done for us.  We remember the words taken from the psalms “what wonders the Lord worked for  us indeed we are glad.”



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